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WEATHER; some cloud, brisk wind. Temp 8 – 22C

We set off from El Rocio just after breakfast at 9am, our journey would take us, first to the centre of Sevilla to drop off Steve, our American contingency, for part II of his stay in Spain. All went well with the drop off, we then headed for Ronda on the way to Malaga.

A few birds were seen along the way, but to be honest, not many people were looking. We saw Ring-necked Parakeet in the centre of Sevilla with Common Swifts, Lesser Kestrels, Feral and Wood Pigeons.

On the road we saw Black Kites and Crested Larks, Hoopoe,  on the wires we saw Corn Buntings turtle Doves. In the centre of Ronda we spent 1 ½ hours sight-seeing around the famous bridge where we also saw Crag Martins and a bunch of Red-billed Choughs. After a pizza lunch overlooking the gorge we set off for a nature park about 10km out of town.

The Sierra de las Neives natural park is vast, it included oak forest, open woodland, heathland, pine forest, mountains and alpine grassland. We spent our limited time in the oak forest and the heathland scrub.

Our first stop produced very little, just a few common species, such as Mistle Thrush, Jay and BlureTit, but when we stopped in the oak forest we soon found both Bonelli’s Warbler and a pair of Firecrests. As we got back to the bus a Short-toed Eagle circled above us and then behind us a Booted Eagle came up over the forest.

Bonelli's Warbler taken by Tony Moore

At the heathland we search for Spectacled Warbler without seeing one, we did find Stonechat and Dartford Warblers. A host of Griffon Vultures circled over the mountains, we also saw Red-billed Chough and a Raven.

Firecrest - also taken by Tony Moore

Driving back down the track we saw three more species, first a Black Wheatear appeared at eye-level on the rocks, then above us to the right a Rock Bunting flew up the slope and a Black Redstart flew down and across the track and landed near the Wheatear.

the last of Tony Moore's pictures - Short-toed Eagle. A big thank you goes out to Tony from me for enhancing my blog with his ecellent pictures throughout this tour and for several previous tours. 

That concluded our birding for the trip, it was 5pm and we had an hour’s drive to our hotel near Malaga Airport. We ad dinner at 7:30pm and the bird-log revealed that we had seen 176 species, which is about average for this trip. There were many suggestions for bird of the trip, but the fly-over Flamingos got the most accolades.